The SITE Foundation, the research arm of the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives, is taking unprecedented steps to define the incentive industry for the rest of the world and to support more research in the European incentive market.

The Foundation's current project will, for the first time, attempt to measure the size of the incentive market by defining how large the incentive travel, motivational meeting, and event markets are and then attempting to pinpoint the number of end users and what they spend. The research piece will also create recommended working definitions for the different types of motivational events.

“There's some confusion regarding the definition of what the industry is and definitions within the industry as well,” says Frank Katusak, executive director of the SITE Foundation. “There's a lack of clarity regarding the nomenclature. Also, we feel that subsegments and components have diverging priorities and points of view.”

Finally, the piece will explore what elements go into end-user budgets, corporations' goals for these events, and the key trends in the industry.

The project is going to be “a very challenging task,” admits Katusak. To help, he has obtained the services of GfK NOP, the fifth-largest research company in the world, which is based in Germany. The final report should be released in the first quarter of 2007.

The SITE Foundation has also created the first event designed specifically to generate support for more research on incentives in Europe. Known as the SITE Foundation European Forum, it will be held from September 14 to 17 in Benidorm, on the Costa Blanca, part of Spain's Mediterranean coast, at the new Westin de Faula Golf & Spa Resort. The event will bring together hosted buyers and suppliers for networking and social activities, including golf and sightseeing.

Following the model used in its U.S. SITE Foundation Invitational, the event will include an auction to raise money for European research.

“We have been trying to expand to a greater extent our research efforts into non-North American regions of the globe,” says Katusak. “If it is successful this year and we are able to build it into a sustainable event, we would look to develop similar events in other regions as well, such as Asia/Pacific.”

For more information on the new projects, visit www.sitefoundation.org.